Travel ban order will hurt, ad­vo­cates for refugees say

Los Angeles Times - - THE WORLD - By Laura King laura.king@la­times.com

WASH­ING­TON — Im­mi­gra­tion and refugee ad­vo­cates ex­pressed dis­ap­point­ment Mon­day with the Supreme Court’s par­tial re­in­state­ment of Pres­i­dent Trump’s travel ban, say­ing even lim­ited im­ple­men­ta­tion could cause hard­ship to refugees and oth­ers seek­ing to travel to the United States from six af­fected Mus­lim­ma­jor­ity coun­tries.

How­ever, or­ga­ni­za­tions tak­ing part in the month­s­long le­gal fight against the re­vised travel ban ex­pressed hopes that the high court ul­ti­mately will re­ject the re­stric­tions af­ter ar­gu­ments are heard in Oc­to­ber.

And they wel­comed what they de­scribed as an im­plicit re­buke of the White House’s as­ser­tion that Trump has un­fet­tered pow­ers to ex­clude arrivals based on pur­ported na­tional se­cu­rity con­cerns.

The ini­tial roll­out of the ban, days af­ter Trump took of­fice in Jan­uary, caused pan­de­mo­nium at air­ports across the U.S. and over­seas as tens of thou­sands of visa hold­ers ar­riv­ing from seven af­fected coun­tries were turned away with­out warn­ing or de­tained.

Af­ter courts blocked that order, Trump is­sued a re­vised travel ban that took Iraq off the list.

A re­play of Jan­uary’s travel chaos was un­likely Mon­day be­cause the court’s ac­tion will al­low visa hold­ers with “bona fide” ties to peo­ple or en­ti­ties in the U.S. to en­ter, mean­ing stu­dents, em­ploy­ees and fam­ily mem­bers can still get in.

But refugee ad­vo­cates said the court’s lim­ited rul­ing, which the ad­min­is­tra­tion can move to im­ple­ment on Thurs­day, could leave many would-be arrivals in limbo pend­ing the fi­nal­iz­ing of new vet­ting pro­ce­dures.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion had orig­i­nally said a three­month travel ban was needed in part to re­view the checks to which would-be en­trants are sub­jected.

David Miliband, pres­i­dent of the In­ter­na­tional Res­cue Com­mit­tee, said the par­tial re­in­state­ment of the ban par­tic­u­larly threat­ens “vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple wait­ing to come to the U.S.,” in­clud­ing those with ur­gent med­i­cal con­di­tions.

The Na­tional Im­mi­gra­tion Law Cen­ter, one of the groups that chal­lenged the ban, said that as of this week, about 50,500 refugees from the six af­fected coun­tries had been ap­proved for travel and re­set­tle­ment in the U.S. — all hav­ing al­ready un­der­gone in­ten­sive checks.

The Mid­dle East Stud­ies Assn., one the groups con­test­ing the ban in the lower courts, said many stu­dents and aca­demics were en­snared by the orig­i­nal order, and are still wary of leav­ing and then try­ing to reen­ter the United States.

Iran — along with So­ma­lia, Su­dan, Ye­men, Syria and Libya — is one of the af­fected coun­tries, and South­ern Cal­i­for­nia is home to a large Ira­nian Amer­i­can com­mu­nity that was hit hard by the orig­i­nal ban.

“The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s new idea is to make it so hard on Ira­ni­ans and Mus­lims to get a visa that visa of­fi­cers will have the un­re­stricted dis­cre­tion to re­ject visa ap­pli­ca­tions,” said Shayan Mo­dar­res, le­gal coun­sel for the Na­tional Ira­nian Amer­i­can Coun­cil.

Pa­trick T. Fal­lon For The Times

POUNEH BEHIN posts a sign at LAX dur­ing the ini­tial roll­out of the travel ban of­fer­ing help to those af­fected. A re­play of the travel chaos is un­likely.

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